Archive for the 'Archive' Category

From the Archives: The Museum During WWII

“No annual report, no discussion of affairs, at this time, can ignore the one major fact of this year: we are at war.”

This is the opening sentence of the Report of the Director, dated April 9, 1942, and published in the May-June 1942 Bulletin. The report goes on to describe the effects of the first months of WWII on the Museum. It sparked my interest to investigate how the Museum prepared for and supported the war effort.

Two service men at an exhibition of war posters

Two service men at an exhibition of war posters

I discovered that while many east and west coast museums focused on civil defense preparations, the DMFA (Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, which would later become the DMA) was able to focus its wartime efforts on offering cultural programs of wide general appeal, including exhibitions, musical performances, movies, gallery talks, art classes, and recreational activities. These programs were designed to support the service men and women stationed in the area and boost morale among the civilian residents of Dallas.

Twenty exhibitions representing the part that art plays in the war effort were assembled from army camps and individual artists in the Service and were held between 1942 and 1945.

Prints by British Artists in Service, July 1942
Red Cross Poster Exhibition, August 1942
British and American War Posters, September 1942
Art in War, July 4-August 8, 1943
Exhibition of Work by Soldiers from Camp Maxey, September 12-October 3, 1943
John Knott: War Cartoons, October 3-November 7, 1943
War Posters, October 10-31, 1943
Lt. Bill Lumpkins: Watercolors, December 1-21, 1943
Speak Their Language: British and American Cartoons, March 19-April 3, 1944
Pfc. Benham Dangers: Alaska Paintings, June 18-July 11, 1944
Costumes of 7 American Wars, June 18-July 16, 1944

The World War II section of the exhibition Costumes of Seven American Wars

The World War II section of the exhibition Costumes of Seven American Wars

Fred Darge: Paintings of Bougainville, July 2-August 1, 1944
Paintings from Camp Barkley, July 9-August 13, 1944
Alexandre Hogue: Aviation Production Drawings, October 15-November 3, 1944
[Pfc.] Walt Wiggins: Photographs, December 3-28, 1944
The Abbott Collection: Paintings of Naval Aviation, December 10, 1944-January 9, 1945

The Abbott Collection included over 100 paintings and drawings by seven nationally known American artists depicting the varied phases of naval aviation from pre-flight to combat. The artists visited Naval Air Stations and lived and talked with students, instructors, and fighter pilots in order to produce this important historical record of the Navy.

Mayor Woodall Rogers and Dr. Umphrey Lee, president of Southern Methodist University, view the Naval Aviation paintings with a group of Waves

Mayor Woodall Rodgers and Dr. Umphrey Lee, president of Southern Methodist University, view the Naval Aviation paintings with a group of Waves

Paintings from Frederick Army Air Field, December 31, 1944-January 30, 1945
Ben Culwell: War Paintings, March 4-16, 1945
Army Arts Exhibition-8th Service Command, April 29-May 13, 1945

The Army Arts exhibition included 191 works from 800 entries submitted. The jury consisted of Lt. Col. Ward Lockwood, Major Louis D. Smith, Lt. T.A. Reeves, Jr., DMFA Director Jerry Bywaters, and Dallas artist Allie Tennant. A national jury visited the Museum and chose 30 works to represent the 8th Service Command in the national exhibition in Washington, D.C.

War Bond House Organ Cover Designs Exhibition, July 15-29, 1945

Members of the Armed Services at the Sunday Canteen sponsored by the Museum League

Members of the Armed Services at the Sunday Canteen sponsored by the Museum League

In addition to programming, the Museum League sponsored a canteen for members of the Armed Services in the Museum’s Lounge every Sunday afternoon. The canteen is noted as one of the most appreciated activities by service men and women far from home. The Museum League also sold defense stamps, put on special events for soldiers and their wives, and generally worked to bring the Museum to the attention of those in the Armed Services.

Certificate of appreciation for the museum's wartime support from the United Stated Marine Corps, presented to Jerry Bywaters.

Certificate of appreciation for the Museum’s wartime support from the United Stated Marine Corps, presented to Jerry Bywaters

Hillary Bober is the Archivist at the Dallas Museum of Art.

 

 

Pollock for all Ages

Jackson Pollock tends to bring out art enthusiasts of all ages, and his two iconic works in the Museum’s collection have always been an important stop for visitors. The Dallas Museum of Art has a long history with Pollock; we were the first museum in the world to acquire one of his “classic period” works (Cathedral), and the DMA’s Portrait and a Dream is widely considered to be his last major art statement. Since both of these iconic works are on view in the current exhibition Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots, we began exploring the archives and stumbled upon photos from a 1970s art tour focused on our impressive Pollock piece:

Preschoolers visit the DMFA and learn about Jackson Pollock in 1976.

Preschoolers visit the DMFA and learn about Jackson Pollock. Photo by Clint Grant, Dallas Morning News, October 29, 1976

Photo by Clint Grant, Dallas Morning News, October 29, 1976

And then get to try their hand at drip paintings.

Photo by Clint Grant, Dallas Morning News, October 29, 1976

Photo by Clint Grant, Dallas Morning News, October 29, 1976

Ten 3-5 year olds, who were participating in the Young Artists program started by Southern Methodist University’s fine arts education department, joined DMFA education staff at the Museum for an afternoon all about Pollock . . . and cookies.

See more photos in the November 21, 1976, article “What is Art?” by Clint Grant.

Hillary Bober is the Archivist at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Haunting Opera

We were digging through the archives and found the photo below. The back states “‘The Sacrifice’ DMFA comic opera 1962 (Aug).” We don’t know the full history of this photo but we thought it was a fitting image for Halloween. We hope your holiday is perhaps less eventful than this trio’s in the 1960s.

“The Sacrifice” DMFA comic opera 1962 (Aug) L to R: Gene Mitchell, John Lunsford, Jerry Jane Smith

“The Sacrifice” DMFA comic opera 1962 (Aug); left to right: Gene Mitchell, John Lunsford, Jerry Jane Smith

 

 

The Wise Llama…part 2

The Wise Llama is one of my favorite posts that I have done for Uncrated. So, when I found more photos of the handsome Sir Lancelot while I was processing the John and Nora Wise Papers in the DMA Archives, I knew I had to share.

John and Nora Wise Papers, DMA Archives

John and Nora Wise Papers, DMA Archives

Here is Sir Lancelot, a pure white llama, promoting John Wise’s exhibition World of Ancient Gold at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Nora Wise is behind Sir Lancelot, holding his reins.

The following two photos show Sir Lancelot enjoying treats and showing off his John Wise Ltd. accessory while posing for photos during his day at the Fair.

Fair Pictures International Corp. #190-2 John and Nora Wise Papers, DMA Archives

Fair Pictures International Corp. #190-2
John and Nora Wise Papers, DMA Archives

Fair Pictures International Corp. #190-4 John and Nora Wise Papers, DMA Archives

Fair Pictures International Corp. #190-4
John and Nora Wise Papers, DMA Archives

Sir Lancelot is by far the cutest llama in the archives . . . OK he is the only one, but he’s still adorable.

Hillary Bober is the Archivist at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Mrs. International

Mrs. International 1989 contestants visit the DMA.

Mrs. International 1989 contestants visit the DMA.

I was searching the archives for a fun photo to share and decided on the above. Unfortunately, like many photos in the archives, it was essentially unidentified, because in this case, I discovered that the photo was misidentified.

The caption on the back of the photo reads “Mrs. America #18 1980.” I tried to find some additional context by using the The Dallas Morning News archives, something along the lines of ‘Mrs. America contestants visit museum,’ or even ‘Mrs. America pageant held in Dallas,’ but there was nothing. A search for the history of the Mrs. America pageant showed that it was held in Las Vegas, so a visit to the DMA seemed highly unlikely. Then, with both the pageant and date now in question, I took a closer look at the titles on the sashes, and searched for “Mrs. Texas International.”

I was now fairly certain that the women in the photo were contestants in the Mrs. International pageant, which was also licensed as Mrs. USA, but I still didn’t have a date. I started to search the states visible on the sashes of the  Mrs. International pageant participants in hopes of identifying one of them to determine the date. Luckily for me, the Mrs. Ohio website came through and included past winners with photos. I was able to identify Mrs. Ohio as 1989 winner Ruth Coffman, thus providing the date for the photo.

In addition to an amusing image, this became a fun way to demonstrate just one of the many types of things I do in the DMA Archives.

Hillary Bober is the Archivist for the Dallas Museum of Art.

Ruby Anniversary

AnneBromberg_DocentTraining_1985_001
Dr. Anne Bromberg, The Cecil and Ida Green Curator of Ancient and Asian Art at the DMA, is celebrating forty years at the Museum this year. Anne began her time at the Museum in 1975, when the building was located in Fair Park and we still went by the name Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. Over the course of her career, she has served under six Museum directors—Harry Parker, Rick Brettell, Jay Gates, Jack Lane, Bonnie Pitman, and Max Anderson; seen building moves and expansions; acted as curator on some of the Museum’s most popular exhibitions; and entertained visitors with her exciting and lively talks and tours. Anne’s husband, Alan Bromberg, and his family, notably his mother, Juanita (Cookie) Bromberg, always supported her career and the Museum throughout her years of service. Last week, DMA staff, friends, and former colleagues came together to celebrate Anne’s remarkable and colorful career with the DMA.


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Kimberly Daniell is the Manager of Communications and Public Affairs at the DMA.

Rare Books

The DMA’s Mayer Library staff spent the last two months cataloging books from the Reves Library. At the start of the project, only one hundred or so books from the Reves Collection were searchable in the library’s catalog.  We knew there were important books that had not yet been entered that could significantly improve research on the collection, if only they were more accessible. Taking advantage of the temporary closure of the Reves Grand Salon and Library for refurbishment this past February, we embarked on a project to do just that.

It required removing all nine hundred and fifty art and antiquarian books from the shelves in the Reves Library, transferring them on book carts through the Museum galleries to the Mayer Library, and then, one by one, cataloging each book in the library’s database. To give you a sense of how large an endeavor this was, our two catalogers usually catalog three hundred books in the same time frame.

Reves Library after books to be cataloged were moved out.

Reves Library after books to be cataloged were moved out

Reves books in the library workroom, their home during the cataloging project.

Reves books in the library workroom, their home during the cataloging project

Most of the books in the Reves Library are art related, with an emphasis on areas in which the couple collected, including many rare gallery and exhibition catalogues. The library also contains collections of writings by Winston Churchill, translations of Emery Reves’ Anatomy of Peace, and a significant collection of antiquarian books—one of the earliest dating back to 1547, Il Petrarcha con l’espositione d’Alessandro Vellutello, a commentary on Petrarch’s Rerum vulgarium fragmenta.

As the project progressed, interesting findings began to emerge that brought Wendy and Emery Reves and the history of the DMA collection to life. For example, auction catalogs annotated by Emery Reves gave us a glimpse into their collecting habits and interests. Lot 18 of this Sotheby’s catalogue from 1974 was Edouard Manet’s Portrait of Isabelle Lemonnier with a Muff, now in the DMA’s collection; however, it wasn’t Wendy and Emery Reves who purchased it. A close-up of the annotation reads “100,000 Schmit (Paris).” That is a reference to Galerie Schmit. According to the provenance for this painting, it was then acquired by Mr. and Mrs. Algur Meadows, who gifted it to the DMA in 1978.

Page of the Sotheby's catalog showing the Manet

Page of the Sotheby’s catalog showing the Manet

The keen eye of our cataloger discovered this bookplate of Paul Iribe, a French fashion illustrator and interior designer, on the last page of Spinoza’s Ethique. Iribe died in 1935 while visiting Coco Chanel at La Pausa, the French Riviera villa later owned by Wendy and Emery Reves.

Paul Iribe bookplate

Paul Iribe bookplate

With a mix of satisfaction, relief, and a tinge of sadness, the books have all been returned to the shelves of the new and improved Reves Library.

You can browse through a list of the rest of the books from the Reves Collection in the library’s online catalog.

Jenny Stone is the Librarian at the Dallas Museum of Art.

 


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